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Intel Turbo Boost is MIA on new 13-inch MacBook Pro? (update: negatory)

Vlad Savov
March 11, 2011
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If you were expecting your new 13-inch MacBook Pro's Core i7 CPU to Turbo Boost its way north of that default 2.7GHz clock speed, we might suggest discontinuing your anticipation. Two separate reviews of the laptop are reporting the curious case of its Core i7-2620M processor failing to automatically overclock itself the way it should. Intel's dual-core chip is capable of a maximum speed of 3.4GHz, but reviewers weren't able to get it any higher than its stock setting while testing Apple's latest 13-incher. High temperatures were identified (north of 90C / 194F) as the likely culprit, with Notebook Journal also finding its machine throttled down to 798MHz due to heat dissipation issues. PC Pro theorizes that Apple intentionally disabled the Turbo Boost functionality on this particular MBP model in order to preserve your lap and your pride from being scalded by melting components. That would make sense to us, and hey, it's still a fast machine, just not Turbo fast.

[Thanks, Markus]

Update: AnandTech's findings contradict the above, with Anand asserting that "there's absolutely no funny business going on here, the dual-core 2.7 is allowed to hit its maximum frequencies." Seems like we'll need to keep digging to get to the bottom of this one.

Update 2: We've confirmed with Apple that there are no specific hardware or software limits to block the Turbo Boost function, however we've also discovered, through less direct sources, that the company is providing new low level software tools to diagnose cooling issues with the 2011 batch of laptops. Ergo, the speed limits that PC Pro and Notebook Journal encountered might have been caused by inadequate heat dissipation, which arguably is no less troubling than an Apple-mandated de-Turbo-fication.







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